Saturday, March 10, 2007

Comedy That Doesn't Short-Change

Charla, the Armenian midget who has appeared for two seasons on The Amazing Race, including the current "All Stars" edition, makes a guest appearance as herself in Episode 5 of HBO's The Comeback.

In this episode Charla (a woman who, like Cher and Charro, has achieved a level of celebrity where she needs only one name) is the star of her own fictional reality series called "The Littlest Assistant" (Tagline: "Little Person, Big Dreams"), the concept of which is simple: each week she's a different person's "littlest assistant." Big dreams, indeed.

At one point during the episode, Charla, in a reality show contrivance (and as a way to cross-promote both The Littlest Assistant and The Comeback), has become the personal assistant for Valerie Cherish, the Lisa Kudrow character who is desperately trying to make a comeback after starring years ago in a sit-com that fell three episodes short of syndication.

Cherish is washed up, and she's hoping that her own reality TV show (along with her role in a new sit-com as a kind of ridiculous female Mr. Furley from Three's Company) will give her the same sort of fan base as today's new reality TV "stars."

About midway through the episode, Charla the assistant intentionally has the car run out of gas on the way to what is a very important lunch for Cherish. But Cherish, who will never be known just by her first name, isn't in on the plan. Charla knows it'd make "good TV."

The hijinx that ensue include Charla trying to cross an LA highway and running down the highway with a back-pack encouraging Valerie Cherish to catch up, just as she did with her cousin Mirna on The Amazing Race. Eventually, and as if they were on a race around the world, they chase down a public bus and Valerie is able to make her lunch meeting with an editor from TV Guide.

It's painfully funny. But it's also satire with a point.

Do most people know just how fake reality shows are? How producers script these shows and contrive situations all in the name of better TV?

It's not surprising that The Comeback was canceled after one season: This show may hit way too close to home for some in the TV industry. Think about it next time you watch Celebrity Fit Club. or that other show on VH1 whose name I can't remember, and for good reason.


Here's my earlier mini-review of The Comeback.


1 comment:

Michael said...

This episode had me ROARING with laughter! One of my favs.